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03-11-2022, 09:34 AM   #1
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SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 vs. SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

Anyone that has used both, what are your thoughts of the SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 vs. SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED lends

I realize the FA is made for full frame; however, aren't all the vintage lens, like the M lens, for full frame and can be used on APS-C bodies...

Anyways, my main reason for this post is for comments on the comparison of the 2 lens - particularly sharpness of images.


Regards,

Michael

Quick links:

SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 Reviews - FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

03-11-2022, 09:50 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michael Piziak Quote
I realize the FA is made for full frame; however, aren't all the vintage lens, like the M lens, for full frame and can be used on APS-C bodies...
Using a FF lens on a crop sensor camera has no issues. In fact because you are using a smaller portion (the centre) of the image circle you are going to get the best out of it on a crop sensor..

I don't know either of the lenses unfortunately, but have only heard very good things about the 55-300.

I did have experience when I used film, of the forerunner to the FA lens you mention. That was the FA 100-300 4.5/5.6 which did not impress me and I sold it quickly.
03-11-2022, 10:03 AM   #3
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I have been playing with both the FA 100-300mm lenses, and the FA 80-320mm, in recent months. I had a F 100-300mm a few years ago and wasn't very impressed with it - my review does explicitly compare with the DAL 55-300mm so thats a pointer for you. My DAL 55-300mm has sticky focus so I hardly use it.
Based on my experience:
  1. The 100-300mm's, and the 80-320mm, offer good performance at the shorter focal lengths - thumbs up (see pics posted by northcoastgreg for example). Noticeably more aberrations than the DA/DAL however.
  2. I have found iq at the long end more variable. The 80-320mm definitely seems a bit softer at 320mm - the extra focal length is not really an advantage. The F 100-300 was also softer at 300mm, however I have had decent results with the FA 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 - see also my pics in the FA unlimited thread and 300mm lens club thread. The FA 100-300mm f4.7-5.8 seems pretty similar.
  3. I have a clear impression of sample variation with these F and FA lenses, so maybe there is a bit of a game in finding a good one.
  4. If you shop around you can find a 100-300mm for bargain prices. Early versions of the 55-300 can also be very good value, now that they have been superceded by later versions.
  5. Overall no doubt that the 55-300mm tends to be a bit better, and has more consistent iq, esp wide open and across the zoom range. But I can suggest good examples of the F and FA lenses are broadly competitive, or even as good as.

Last edited by marcusBMG; 03-11-2022 at 11:22 AM.
03-11-2022, 10:10 AM   #4
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Iíve only used the 80-320. It was a purple fringe machine at 300-320

Original Da 55-300 is cheap and better. Have not compared with PLM but expect as good or improved over the original 55-300.

What is the expected advantage of the 100-300 for apsc use?

03-11-2022, 10:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
I have been playing with both the FA 100-300mm lenses, and the FA 80-320mm, in recent months. I had a F 100-300mm a few years ago and wasn't very impressed with it - my review does explicitly compare with the DAL 55-300mm so thats a pointer for you. My DAL 55-300mm has sticky focus so I hardly use it.
Based on my experience:
  1. The 100-300mm's, and the 80-320mm, offer good performance at the shorter focal lengths - thumbs up (see pics posted by northcoastgreg for example). Noticeably more aberrations than the DA/DAL however.
  2. I have found iq at the long end more variable. The 80-320mm definitely seems a bit softer at 320mm - the extra focal length is not really an advantage. The F 100-300 was also softer at 300mm, however I have had decent results with the FA 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 - see also my pics in the FA unlimited thread and 300mm lens club thread. The FA 100-300mm f4.7-5.8 seems pretty similar.
  3. I have a clear impression of sample variation with these F and FA lenses, so maybe there is a bit of a game in finding a good one.
  4. If you shop around you can find a 100-300mm for bagain prices. Early versions of the 55-300 can also be very good value, now that they have been superceded by later versions.
  5. Overall no doubt that the 55-300mm tends to be a bit better, and has more consistent iq, esp wide open and across the zoom range. But I can suggest good examples of the F and FA lenses are broadly competitive, or even as good as.
Thanks so much for your reply. Could you please link us to the exact URL of your review that specifically compares them to each other....
03-11-2022, 11:21 AM   #6
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SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
03-11-2022, 04:16 PM   #7
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I own both. There is no comparison. The 100-300 is very poor in comparison to any of the 55-300ís.

03-11-2022, 04:42 PM   #8
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The thing to remember about some of those FA zooms is that they are old and they were not that exceptionally built, copy variation could be big. I had the DA 55-300 ED and it is a good lens, with a couple of shortcomings, first, it was really not good wide open (at least mine was not). The second problem was the very slow and loud autofocus, But the quickshift can help with that by manual focusing until you're close, then use the autofocus. The latest 55-300, the PLM, is so much better in every aspect.
03-11-2022, 07:39 PM   #9
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I've gone through the following lenses in this category:
- SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 (second hand for around $35)
- SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED (second hand for around $90)
- HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE (new for around $390)

I was never disappointed by the 100-300 in terms of image quality, especially considering the price. It has nice contrast. What I didn't like about it was the overall length, which made it hard to fit into some of the bags I wanted to use when traveling, the plasticky feel of the barrel, mount and controls, and the fact that it would not go wider than 100mm. The AF sometimes takes a long and very noisy time to work. It's a great lens for the price though.

The DA L (basically the same as the DA version you are talking about) was easier to live with because having the wider angle means it could stay on my camera for longer in certain situations. The AF was still slow but better. I was able to try a few copies and got one with really sharp images.

I got the latest PLM version recently, along with a K-3 III. To be honest, I wanted to get a fast focusing lens to take advantage of the new camera, so it was a bit of an impulse buy. So far it seems better in every way, but the difference is not so much in the image quality as much as the reduced bulk, better build quality and very fast/confident AF.

So in answer to your question, I found the DA L 55-300 noticeably sharper than the FA 100-300, but it was the other advantages that I valued more.

This image a close crop from the DA L at 260mm f8 and its impressive how it picks out the stones in the mosaic.

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